Day Nine: Point of View
Today’s Prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.
We encourage you to give fiction a try, even if that not what you normally do — it can be a fun way to stretch. If fiction feels like a bridge to far, take some element from the scene that speaks to you, and write a non-fiction piece about that. Perhaps you are drawn to the old woman, and will write a piece about your grandmother, or the crying man will inspire a story about the last time you cried joyful tears.
Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.
Jenny spent the last week torn between ideas of righteousness and resentment against compassion and forgiveness, not ever letting the latter duo win over her resolve to not approach her eldest brother Lucian. She needed only to recall the vivid memories of his frailties. His moral compass had deviated miles from those that marked their family values.
When lately witnessing the deep sadness and aloof attitudes of her mother, Susan, in her early stages of Alzheimer, Jenny unburied thoughts long forgotten. Each time she saw her mother crying, and talking to herself, Jenny would dash into another room, avoiding to be asked to make the phone call she stayed clear of doing for ten years.
Susan always loved her soon though, despite his behavior. Since the passing of her husband she felt freer to forgive Lucian. Only she knew how her husband secretly suffered with the disruption of the family unity, and how much he doubted his decision to expel his son from his heart. “I need to do that for Henry, before I die. I must bring our family together,” Susan kept saying that aloud.
“That is a good place to be when I die,” thought Jenny. “I have always wanted to be cremated and have my ashes thrown to the ocean, but here… is not bad!” While being present at the funeral of a distant relative, Jenny didn’t notice a man waving at her. When she raised her head she felt her heart galloping; it could jump from her mouth. She gasped, while avoiding the gaze of that man. She could hardly control her trembling legs refusing to bring her somewhere else and away from that agony.
“You didn’t change, Jenny, you look beautiful. The years have been kind to you,” said, Lucian, approaching her.
Staring at each other, she felt the bitter taste of pride mixed with tender memories of a family who once was united. Lucian’s curved body, and unshaved face covered with deep wrinkles and puffed eyes, evoked not only the works of the natural passage of time, but something else, as he looked so badly taken care of.
“I hope that intense guilt ravaged his soul like lava, and revenged him for having harmed so many. He never took ownership for his mistakes,” thought Jenny, sealing her lips, which refused to move.
“Jenny, stop being unfair and don’t torture me anymore,” said Lucian. “You don’t seem to have changed your cold heart either,” said Lucian. “I have never done anything wrong. I am entitled to hold on to my political beliefs. I have invested also my money and worked hard to manage that business,” pleaded Lucian with pride. “ Don’t you feel guilty to put the entire family against me with your fabricated lies?” Lucian asked.
Five years ago, Lucian did the unthinkable. He exposed the family to shame by engaging in a public fight with his younger brother Albert, who became a politician. The family gathered to deliberate the issue and Lucian gave his words to his parents and siblings to steer away from politics and to not ever again attack his brother in public.
However, as soon as he was outside the door, he carried on his battle against his brother Albert, making alliances with his opponents. Besides that, he also secretly transferred the ownership of one of the family businesses he managed, to his own name, without soliciting permission to anyone in the family.
That was the last drop for the family’s trust on his words and actions. The parents entrusted Jenny to be at the helm of their family business. Upon discovering Lucian’s act, they tried without success to talk to him. They sent a letter to him but never got a response. That is when the parents decided to not take any legal action, except for severing all lines of contact with him.
Walking at the park nearby her house, as well as painting and knitting, were Susan’s loyal companions, the ones who saw her days passing by in solitude.
Lucian and his wife started arguing when they got stuck at a traffic jam. She had confronted him with the discovery of his new mistress, to no avail, as he denied it as always. She accepted his plea for reasons that only her lack of self-respect could explain. Running late for her daughter’s wedding though, was not something she could ever accept from him.
He proposed to park his car and walk across the park to reach the next metro. As they begun to walk through the park holding hands, they passed an old woman, who he knew so well, sitting on a bench together with a nurse, knitting a small, red sweater. Lucian cried when he read his name on it, while continuing his journey.